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I haven't had much playing time over the holidays and other members of the band have had various commitments which has made rehearsal time minimal as well.


But, we had a gig set for last night,playing 5 songs at an 'open mic' one of the bars has here. So we got together early in the day and rehearsed for a couple hours and then played the gig (it went pretty well)


But now the tip of my index finger looks like a lima bean!! :cry:


I have been playing pretty regularly over the last couple of years, but it seems like anytime I take more than a week off my calluses soften and I get blisters. :mad:


Doom, Dispair and agony on me..... :rolleyes:


Anyone else have this problem?

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai


Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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My sympathys and comiseration indeed.

There is a trick to keeping your tips tough and ready and I haven't figured it out yet. Imagine playing hard on a Friday night for 4 hours and ending up with burnt fingers only to have to go back for 4 more hours the next night. I would end up with huge blisters covered by finger wraps - and they wouldn't normally heal before the next gig.

When I was younger, I used to roll a lit cigarette across the tips of my fingers. It actually worked pretty good! Since I don't smoke much any more, that isn't realistic but because I suffer from the occasional blood blister still, I take some precautions. I avoid (and I have said this before) prolonged contact with water a couple days before a gig, and I try to play every day for somewhere around an hour. That seems to work for me.

If you get in a pinch, coat your tips with Super Glue - it helps.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76


I have nothing nice to say so . . .


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maybe i'm weird...but i never get blisters...my fingertips have just gotten tougher over time...especially my left index.


Comparatively, my left and right fingertips are like night and day.




Soli Deo Gloria


"it's the beauty of a community. it takes a village to raise a[n] [LLroomtempJ]." -robb


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1) Don't pop the blister.

2) Wrap white adhesive tape over your fingertips to protect them until the blister heals.

3) Put aloe or vitamin E on your fingertips to help the healing process.

4) Soaking them in warm water will also help, but don't do this just before playing. You could always volunteer to do the dishes. ;) Just the one time. :D

5) Superglue might help protect the fingers also.

6) Play with a pick or your thumb while your fingers are healing.

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Also: Try to pick up the bass and play at least once a day. Playing often will help you maintain your calluses.



Thank you sir, may I have another! :D

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai


Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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I've been doing what jeremy said since I started having problems in jazz band in 9th grade...it works wonders...one suggestion to add to the list if I may, put a band aid over the blister before wrapping tape around the finger incase the skin is soft when you take it off...that way you won't tear the blister.


Also, my dad suggested some years back that I put some salt in the warm water when soaking fingertips...I'm not sure if it actually helps but he seemed confident that it would and it hasn't hurt.


And may I add further support to what Alex said.

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Allow me to, uh, third Alex' comments:


Practice unplugged, it will help you develop both finger strength and dynamic awareness. It will also make you aware of the true tone of your instrument, which can aid you in getting a good plugged in tone. Plus, you can practice anytime.


Then, when you are plugged in, raise the gain and you have to work less hard to make the notes heard well and clearly, and you can strike the strings less hard to do so.

It also improves dynamics, as you are free to play soft or loud, using mainly your hands for control.


These are all good things.


And, as Ben said...

Play more often!!!!!!!!!!!






I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.






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What they said, plus this:


I read an interview with Stanley Clarke in Bass Player a while back and he mentioned that he files his fingertips! According to Stan The Man regular playing will wear your fingertips down unevenly and cause tiny fissures to form which become irritated and can form blood blisters.


Gentle filing with a very fine emory board or pumice stone keeps your fingertips smooth and less prone to this type of wear. Obviously you don't want to file your callouses right off, just make them smooth.


Sounded crazy when I read it, but I'll be damned if it hasn't worked for me. I used to get blisters regularly, but don't anymore.

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I never get blisters. :D

Well, not anymore...


Like what Claber said, about practicing acoustic, well when I first started playing, I didn't have an amp! So I would pluck away in my room, acoustic, and my hands went through agony. But eventually I did get my hands on an electronic concoction that made noise but I'll save that for another thread.


I do roofing and siding, decks, etc for a living, and that helps me a lot. My hands feel like sand paper. Thats from the roofing though. I don't work with gloves, and handling roofing shingles all day definately turns your hands to leather.


In fact I think anyone could build up their callouses simply by rubbing your fingertips across a piece of roofing shingle while you watch TV, if they had extra in their garage or something. I know whenever I do a roof I always leave a bundle or two in the homeowner's garage. Aw heck I guess you could use sandpaper, too. Or your girlfriend's nail file. :freak:


Even when I started playing again about 2 years ago, I never got a blister. My fingers were already prepared.


If I ever did get a blister, I would be screwed. I can't play with a pick like I can play with my fingers, especially on fills and 16th note grooves. I'm not fond of the sound either, so, I usually avoid picks. On rare occasion I will try to cop Squier and do the pick/thumb technique and use my 2nd finger to play any extra notes. Sometimes it works well.


When I did get blisters on my fingertips I would pop them and play through the pain. Nothing sounds better than my fingers do, to me.


I would go for the thumb option, and try to alternate thumb/whatever good finger is left and play 1/4 notes at a modest tempo for as long as I could, take a 10 minute break, then repeat...until you feel good playing that way. I would only go through that if I had a show that night or the next day....


Now, I've never gotten blisters, but I've hammered the wrong nail a few times(usually when I try to hammer lefty-sometimes you have to in certain situations). Now thats a real bitch. Complete loss of finger usage. Thats where I got that exercise. I can pretty much use any finger combination on my right hand, just from being forced to as a result of a work related accidents! :freak:

"The world will still be turning when you've gone." - Black Sabbath


Band site: www.finespunmusic.com

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Like Johnny, I work with my hands at my day job. I don't have the "sandpaper hands", common to roofers and framers, but my hands are pretty tough.

I've never had a playing related blister, and hopefully never will.

Heal quick.

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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i work with my hands too, but generally working wiht your hands does not extend to your fingertips. so while i abuse my hands daily, i never manage to toughen up my fingertips whithout playing.


so play. play more, play through it. pretty soon you'll be able to hammer a 6 inch spike through a board with you pe... fingertips. (name THAT movie, bitches. :P )

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Don't have them trained, worked hands .. I'm a student, so at best I type away a lot ... Never had blisters though. Makes me wonder why :)


I did practice acoustically at the beginning, for lack of an amp. And I still do a lot of the time, just to goof around or to try and play something that's in my head.


Guess it works for me that way.


By the way, I had a blister once, got it through a freak accident in a pub ... And I had an audition the next day. Played with a pick (virtually the first time really) and bled all over my bass. Even though it was a gothic band, I didn't get the gig :D

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes


The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I tried the superglue trick and my hand stuck to the bass! OK, not really. I do start to lose callouses and strength after about a week and just try to minimize it by playing alot. Practicing at home dosen't help me much because I dig in a lot harder with the band.
my band: Mission 5
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